Forget Trump’s Border Wall. Let’s Build F.D.R.’s International Park.


A joint U.S.-Mexico park along the Rio Grande would send a message of cooperation when the loudest words are of division.

By Dan W. Reicher

Mr. Reicher was a member of the first reported expedition to navigate the 1,800-mile-plus Rio Grande.

Big Bend National Park, on the border of Texas and Mexico. There has long been interest in creating an international park in the area.CreditCreditDavid Hensley/Moment, via Getty Images

Nearly 75 years ago, an American president was eyeing a grand project along our southern border, not to divide the United States and Mexico but to bring the two nations together. On June 12, 1944, a week after D-Day, President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation establishing Big Bend National Park, almost a million acres along the Rio Grande in West Texas.

He followed up with a grand challenge to President Manuel Ávila Camacho of Mexico: “I do not believe that this undertaking in the Big Bend will be complete until the entire park area in this region on both sides of the Rio Grande forms one great international park.” Mr. Camacho agreed.

Still, the building of a great international park along our southern border, rather than a grim medieval wall, remains an elusive goal. But if there ever was a moment for it, this is it, and particularly in a place where time and the flowing river have already carved truly great walls along thousand-foot-deep canyons.

There was a compelling precedent for President Roosevelt’s idea. In 1932, the United States and Canada…

Read more at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/14/opinion/trump-wall-big-bend-park.html


These Photos of a Segregated U.S. Navy Unit Were Lost for Decades. They Still Have a Story to Tell


February 22, 2019
 

Sailors assigned to work as laborers at the U.S. Naval Supply Depot on Guam.
Wayne Miller—Magnum Photos

There are many ways to photograph a black person, and it’s easy for things to go horribly wrong. America’s long history of racist imagery makes that quite clear. Wayne Miller, a white man, was notable for doing it right. In the mid-20th century, a time when American visual culture was suffused with photographs that reinforced demeaning notions about black people, Miller created deeply empathetic images with a understated, yet unmistakable anti-racist intent. He made his best known photographs of African Americans on Chicago’s South Side, between 1946 and 1948. But they were not his first.

In 1944 and 1945, while serving as a U.S. Navy photographer, he created a photographic series about a segregated all-black unit that was assigned to the Naval Supply Depot on Guam. The men called their unit “Pot Luck,” and that was the name that Miller gave to the book that he planned to publish about them. The book never appeared; its maquette, or mock-up, was lost until 2018, when one of Miller’s daughters rediscovered it. And what she found, images from which are published here for the first time, reveals…

Read more at:

http://time.com/longform/wayne-miller-pot-luck/


The Real Value Of Course Correction (Use It Early And Often)



What Would Eleanor Roosevelt Do? A New Book Has the Answer


Eleanor Roosevelt

“If You Ask Me: Essential Advice from Eleanor Roosevelt”
by Eleanor Roosevelt, edited by Mary Jo Binker
c.1946, 1974, 2018, Atria Books
$25.00 / $34.00 Canada
245 pages

What should you do?

When relationships break down, what then? Or you lose your job and your bank account is depleted, your home is in foreclosure, you’re a victim of discrimination, what do you do? You ask yourself “What next?” then you reach for help, and with the new book “If You Ask Me: Essential Advice from Eleanor Roosevelt,” edited by Mary Jo Binker, the advice you get might be decades old.

Arguments on immigration, world issues, patriotism, and messy politics. Minority issues, equal pay, family problems, and Constitutional matters. Though these may seem to be problems strictly of the modern age, from 1921 until 1962, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of our 32nd president, also tackled these same topics in her books and magazine articles. In those 41 years, she ultimately penned more than 600 pieces.

People from every walk of life consulted Mrs. Roosevelt for advice: politicians asked her and women sought her out. Men looked toward her wisdom and, says Binker, she had a particular affection for…

Read more at:

https://rebelliousmagazine.com/what-would-eleanor-roosevelt-do-book/


What FDR Can Teach Us About Congress and National Emergencies


by Martin Halpern

Martin Halpern is professor emeritus of history at Henderson State University and the author of UAW Politics in the Cold War Era and Unions, Radicals, and Democratic Presidents: Seeking Social Change in the Twentieth Century.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn, and Alben Barkley

 

Seventy-five years ago this week, there was a serious conflict between President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress. The United States was at war, indisputably a national emergency. Today we face a serious conflict between President Donald Trump and Congress. President Trump has declared a national emergency in order to spend monies appropriated by Congress for other purposes in order to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Only Trump’s supporters, a minority of the country, see an emergency. If Trump is not stopped, we will have taken a serious step toward authoritarian government. We may draw some lessons from the conflict between Roosevelt and Congress in 1944 that may be helpful today.

As a follow-up to his call for an Economic Bill of Rights in his January 11, 1944, State of the Union address, Roosevelt had proposed to raise $10.5 billion for the prosecution of the war and domestic needs. The resulting Revenue Act raised only $2.1 billion and included tax cuts and new benefits for bondholders and the airline, lumber, and natural gas industries. On February 22, 1944, Roosevelt issued a veto message, charging that the measure enacted by Congress was “not a tax bill but a tax relief bill providing relief not for the needy but for the greedy.” Although Roosevelt was right in his criticism, the reaction on Capitol Hill was outrage. 

The next morning, Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley of Kentucky, hitherto a close supporter of the president, charged that…

Read more at:

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/171377


The End of History? FDR, Trump and the Fake Past 4/15


FDR used his understanding of history to advance liberal democracy. Trump uses historical ignorance to advance demagoguery. To succeed, both leaders depend on the acceptance of their ideas by a more-or-less informed electorate. Are we now finally experiencing what Francis Fukuyama famously called the “end of history” in 1989? Will historical ignorance—rather than the end of ideology—spell just the opposite of what Fukuyama predicted—the demise of western liberal democracy?

 

About the speaker: CYNTHIA M. KOCH is Historian in Residence and Director of History Programing for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation at Adams House, Harvard University. She was Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York and subsequently Senior Adviser to the Office of Presidential Libraries, National Archives, Washington, D.C. From 2013-16 she was Public Historian in Residence at Bard College, where she taught courses in public history and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Her most recent publications are “They Hated Eleanor, Too,” “Hillary R[oosevelt] Clinton,” “Demagogues and Democracy,” and “Democracy and the Election” are published online by the FDR Foundation http://fdrfoundation.org/.

Previously Dr. Koch was Associate Director of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community, a national public policy research group at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as Executive Director (1993-1997) of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was Director (1979-1993) of the National Historic Landmark Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, New Jersey.